Pecan Pie, Me Oh My!


Holy cow, pecan pie is NUTS. Pun fully intended. I’ve never made pecan pie before this adventure, & now that it’s over, I know why. I’m fairly certain that the time spent on this recipe – research, prep, more research, cooking, more research, cooling – is the most I’ve spent on anything I’ve ever made. The hours of reading, weighing conflicting opinions, searching for the best substitutes for corn syrup, the uncertainty caused by a pie that will not set up, by the air bubbles that rose from my carefully spoon-mixed filling, by the blind trust I’ve put in my oven’s temperature – why would I, or anyone, put myself through this when I can buy a pie that everyone will love in any grocery, market, or gas station? I have to say, having expended great effort, slaving away & melting in my steamy apartment, driving the cats to spend the thick afternoon lolling on the bathroom tile to escape my madness, the result is completely, 100% worth it all. I don’t think I have ever been prouder, & I don’t think one of my pies has ever been tastier. & in a weird way, I owe it all to the Amish & NYC drivers who suck at parking.

Thank you, the Amish, for pie & good parking etiquette.

Thank you, the Amish, for everything.
Things I have learned about pecan pie from this experience:
1. This pie is hard.
2. There are (give or take) 875 different ways to prepare this pie.
3. Every one of these variations is “the best,” “foolproof,” & the way to fix/avoid whatever problems you might have making this pie.
4. You will have problems making this pie.
5. Corn syrup is a major ingredient in the modern recipes for this pie.
6. Cane syrup, the most popular alternative to corn syrup for this pie, has corn syrup as its first & most prominent ingredient.
7. Other non-corn syrup ingredients call for molasses, whose first & most-prominent ingredient is corn syrup.
8. Blanching & toasting pecans makes them insanely delicious.
9. Oven temperature is unreliable, but it hardly matters until you use lower temperatures. Then it matters, a lot.
10. This pie is hard, but once you have made it & it doesn’t suck, you kind of feel like you can do anything. Avoid settings that offer the possibility of extreme or death-defying activities.